Thursday, May 30, 2013

Curtis: Officially a Preschool Graduate

Big day for little Curt. Preschool graduation. For years, I've been writing about Curtis refusing to smile. Today was no exception.

During the little graduation program, the kids were giggling, and singing, and doing the actions for the songs. Not Curtis. That's not the kind of guy he is. 

Here's a little sample of his performance: (This is Curtis as his most enthusiastic. Seriously):

At the end, the teacher showed a little slideshow, including a few closeups of each of the kids. When Curtis' picture came up she said, "Here's Curtis. You can almost see his teeth. Believe me, that took a lot of work."

Traci kept commentating about how fast the two years of preschool has flown by. Curt does seem like a big kid, but when I think of him starting kindergarten in the fall, I'd like to slow down the clock a little bit.

Despite his stony exterior, he's really enjoyed preschool. His teacher is so sweet with him. At parent/teacher conference she said, "Curtis is a very confident boy and when he makes a decision, he sticks to it. These are very good traits." You'd think she was just using euphemisms for "stubborn," but she's from the Eastern Bloc--where Curtis' iron will really would take him far.

Smiles or no, we're sure proud of the little guy.

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we hit the road and headed to an exotic Utah locale: Ogden. Here are a few pics from our trip to the Hill Aerospace Museum with our Dutch friends the Koots. (The museum was way better than I had expected. Highly recommended.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


My work got a Best of State award the other day. Traci and I went to the award dinner. It was a swanky, black tie affair. It kinda felt like the Utah version of the Grammys or something with its red carpet, swing band, and giant 10-foot-high rotating Best of State statue. But instead of real celebs, we got Mark Eaton and Breinholt. A nice evening, nevertheless.

I came home, wearing the award medal around my neck. This really intrigued five-year-old Curtis.

"What's that, Dad?"

"A medal that my work won."

"It looks kinda...itchy. You should take it off."

It wasn't. But I did.

One second later, he had it around his neck. Well played, Curtis.

"What's this guy holding," he asked, looking at the medal. "Is it a basketball?"

"No. I don't think so."

"Do you wish it was a basketball?"

"Uh, I guess?"

"You love basketball, dad."

That's right. I do. I guess I need to figure out a way to win a basketball medal.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Single Dad: Day Four - The Finale

Last day. Just one final hurdle: church.

I got up, got everyone bathed and dressed. I even did Paige's hair (okay, I combed it and then but a headband in it--close enough). We were all set and ready to go.

"Kids, get in the van!" I hollered. (I couldn't believe how smoothly this was all going. We were going to be early!) I had just overlooked one thing. Curtis, of course, had no idea where his shoes were. Blargh.

After a few minutes of digging, we found them. We weren't early, but we were on time--still an impressive feat.

Things went well in sacrament meeting until Tate discovered the container of baby formula tucked away in the bottom of our church bag.

"I want milk, dad."

"Tate, we're not going to have that kind of milk, buddy. After the sacrament we can go to the drinking fountain."

"I want milk."

"Shh, buddy. We have to wait."

"I WANT MILK!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Tate then grabbed the container, pulled it opened with his teeth and POOF! A cloud of baby powder went up in the air and landed strategically on my crotch. Wonderful.

But we made it through. After church, Tate took a nap and Paige and Curtis helped me clean up the house for mom's impending arrival.
We were reunited with Traci a little after 5:00. The kids were excited to see her, but they couldn't possibly have been as excited as I was. I am a lucky, lucky man.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Single Dad: Day 3

I was too tired to write last night.

Day number three started pretty much where day two ended up--fighting with Paige. Our kids do chores on Saturday mornings. Done without complaining, this takes about two minutes. I spent a good hour-plus arguing with Paige about her chores, then about getting dressed, and then about how she didn't want to go to Curtis' soccer game ("Dad, do you really want to go to Curtis' game in the rain? Do you want your children to get cold and sick? Do you want your children to get sick, dad?).

Luckily, she cheered up when she saw her friend Mackenzie. (Otherwise, I may have left her at the soccer field.)

A little rain didn't hold Curtis down. He put on his jacket and went to work, scoring four goals. (It helps that it's a Pre-K league, ages 3-5. A five-year-old, Curtis is having a heyday.)

With the morning drama out of the way, we were able to have a pretty nice afternoon. I guess all of the horribleness of assembling the grill was worth it because we had a nice little hot dog picnic in the backyard. Paige and Curtis had a great time playing with the maple helicopter leaves.

After dinner, we picked up Traci's dad and headed to the Utah Blaze game. Paige and Curtis love going to the games. Though he usually does okay-ish, I don't take Tate if I have the choice. Obviously, with Traci out of town, I didn't have the choice.

We'd been at the game about five seconds when Tate said, "Go home, Dad." Thanks to some popcorn, he made it through the first quarter. But, as tends to happen, all that popcorn made him thirsty. He grabbed Grandpa's water bottle and spilled a bunch of it down the front of his shirt. He didn't like that too much. So he spent the second quarter bare chest-ting it. (Which is totally legit at a Blaze game; in fact, it usually gets you on the Jumbotron.)

At half-time, we discovered the playground in the upper level concourse. Filled to overflowing with kids, it was a death-defying experience. But it kept Tate entertained for another quarter, which was all I could have hoped for. I didn't get to see much football, but Tate was happy on the playground and Paige and Curtis were happy watching the game with grandpa. A good night.

I got home, dumped the kids in bed, and called it a night. Three days down, one to go.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Single Day: Day Two

We got off to a rough start this morning. No preschool on Fridays, so I only had to worry about getting Paige ready for school. Things were going smoothly until I told her she couldn't wear jelly princess sandals because it was PE day. Major meltdown.

A few of the hits:

"Dad, you want me to wear those shoes?"
"You're not the boss of me!"
"Fine! I'll do it your way. Is that what you want?!"
"You want me to wear these big shoes that no one will think are cute?!"

This continued on for the length of the ride to school. When I let her out of the car, I said, "I hope you have a good day at school."

"I won't because I have to wear these shoes! Hmmph."

The next few hours were much better.

After a successful trip to Cookie Cutters, (notice that though the haircut may change, the expression remains the same) we headed to the park with Grandma.

The boys had a fabulous time. They ran up, and rolled down, the hill so many times that Tate took a three-and-a-half hour nap when he got home. And Curtis, who's not a napper, fell asleep for two.

And then Paige came back home from school.

She was done being mad about the shoes and even apologized for how she'd acted (with was accompanied by "I'm really good at apologizing"). Within 10 minutes of being home, however, she was at it again. What started with her being upset that Curtis and I were not playing basketball "right," morphed into two hours of:

"Dad, you don't appreciate me."
"You're not the boss of me." (again)
"I'm tired of this crap!"
"You never told me I couldn't say that word."
"It's your fault I said that word because you didn't tell me I couldn't."
"I can slam the door if I want."
"I'll watch Sponge Bob...but I'm not going to enjoy it."

She's seven years old.

Things got better as the night wore on. We even went to my-favorite-place-that-is-also-Traci's-least-favorite-place, The Chuck, with my parents. Though it's hard to enjoy it when your five-year-old is refusing to eat and your two-year-old is literally crawling all over  place (and knocking over everything in his path).

Every is now officially in bed (and hopefully asleep--Curtis has a tendency to reappear at strange times).

I'm very tired.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Single Dad: Day One

For the first time in 11 years, Traci is taking a (well-deserved) vacation, spending the weekend with her mom and sisters in St. George. For the next four days, I'll be on my own with the little monsters.

Here's how day one went down. 

8:15 a.m. Drove the carpool to school. Loaded up the Sutherlands, drove to the neighbors, drove to the other neighbors, dropped Paige off at the elementary school, and then headed to the preschool where I had to wait with the three rambunctious preschoolers (and Tate) for 15 minutes until school started. Exhausting.

9:30 a.m. Cleaned the kitchen.

11:00 a.m. My mom comes over to help me whip my yard into shape (and to laugh at Tate's nonstop talking).

Noon. Curtis comes back home from preschool

1:00 p.m. Tate goes down for a nap.

2:30 p.m. While trying to spray weeds in my backyard, I hit my on a branch of our cherry tree so hard that I thought I wouldn't be able to get back up again.

2:31 p.m. I get back up again.

3:00 p.m. Load up the boys and head off to pick up Paige.

4:00 p.m. Realize how incredibly tired I am and try unsuccessful to fool Tate into letting me take a nap while we play Punch Out on the Wii.

4:30 p.m. Play outside.

5:30 p.m. Warm up the dinner that Traci made for us, try to keep Tate from locking himself in the fridge (his f)avorite game).

6:45 p.m. Take Paige to dance class.

 7:15 p.m. Wonder if Paige's herky-jerky, flailing dancing is actually some sort of jubilant exorcism.

8:30 p.m. Shoot hoops with Curtis.

9:00 p.m. Put the kids in bed.

9:15 p.m. Wonder how Traci does this every day.

When's she coming home?


Sunday, May 05, 2013

Such an Unmanly Man

I've been doing a lot of "man" stuff lately--fixing the sprinklers, assembling the grill, putting up the basketball hoop.

Regardless of what they do for living, men all seem to have an inherit desire to be construction workers. There's just something about working with your hands, wielding tools, exerting physical energy. 

Something that I loathe.

I have absolutely no desire to do manly stuff. When I was 14, I spent two summers working for my friend's dad's landscaping company, digging trenches and laying sod. I hated every minute of it. (Well, not every minute of it. I liked working with various dirtbag coworkers and learning pickup lines like "Hey sexy pregnant lady. Wanna go over there in them bushes and try for twins?" Even at 14, I had a hunch that didn't make scientific sense.) When I was 16, I got a job bussing tables at Red Robin. I hated cleaning the bathrooms, hosing off mats, and smelling like grease when I came home (but I loved the fries and being the birthday-song leader).

By the time I was 17, I had decided that I never wanted to have a manual labor job again.

So now I write words for a living in a tiny cubicle. There's no fresh air or sunshine or exercise but I do have a little fan and a window seat (and sometimes I take the stairs). It suits me just fine.

But unfortunately, you can't always avoid man stuff. Like when you have to fix sprinklers or assemble grills or put up the basketball hoop. I'm lousy at it and it takes me forever. I am the least handy man in the history of handymen.

I know guys who say stuff like, "I'd rather just fix it myself. That way, I know it's done right." I say the exact opposite. "I don't want to put it together because then I have to spend all my time worrying that it's going to blow up or start on fire."

I just need to find a job where I can sit in a bigger cubicle and make more money so I can pay someone to fix everything around here.

So who's hiring?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Some of Them Try to Rhyme But They Can't

I am not happy about Chris Kelly, aka Daddy Mac, aka one half of Kris Kross, dying. Not happy at all.

It's not because I was listening to Totally Krossed Out yesterday or anything, or that I've been spending the last 20 years waiting for a comeback.

It's not even about the fact that, in the sixth grade, I wore my clothes backwards to school on several occasions. Or that Ben Yost's sister put my hair into tiny, tiny braids. Or that I also shaved stripes into my eyebrows.

It's because he was 34. No one should have to die when they're 34. And nobody should have to grow up so fast that their best days all happen before they're even in high school.

R.I.P. Mr. Miggity-Miggity-Mac.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Bring Me My Slippers, Please

Having a two-year-old is a little like having a puppy. Tate loves to bring me things. He even fetches my slippers (whether or not I ask him to).

This is plenty sweet. The only problem is that he is very insistent--especially when he brings me these.

"Daddy. Slippers," he declares.

"Thanks, buddy. But I've gotta go to work. Can you hand me my shoes."

"No. Slippers."

"I can't wear slippers to work, buddy."

"Yes. Slippers."

So if you see walking around the office, rocking my Homer Simpsons, you'll understand.